Venture Explains: Mobile Number Portability

What is it? Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is the ability to keep your mobile phone number when switching from one telecom operator to another.

Why does it matter? MNP is particularly important for business users, many of whom find value in keeping a particular mobile number over the long-term, but don’t necessarily want to remain wedded to one provider. Furthermore, if implemented well, MNP should in theory increase competition between telecom operators by forcing them to improve the price, quality, and range of their services to attract and retain customers.

Do we have MNP in Jordan? Even though countries like Saudi Arabia managed to put MNP in place years ago, the practice has yet to be implemented here despite several concerted attempts over the past decade. But Mohammad al Taani, the CEO of the Kingdom’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, is now reportedly trying to get Jordan’s three main telecom providers to sit down at a specially convened meeting to discuss ways of finally making MNP a reality for Jordan’s millions of mobile phone users.

How much demand is there for MNP? It’s hard to pinpoint an exact figure, but it’s safe to assume there are a significant number of Jordanian mobile users that are annoyed by not being able to keep their number while shopping around for the best deals. But it’s important to also consider that technology has moved on greatly since MNP first began being implemented in telecom markets around the world. More and more users are now arguably more interested in communicating via mobile apps like Twitter and WhatsApp than bog-standard voice calls.